The View From 1776

Compromise And The Constitution

The 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia could not have produced our Constitution without a long string of compromises among the sovereign states, some of which had populations that dwarfed others, and all of which had different economic and social interests. 

That is a lesson for today’s acrimonious political maneuvering that seems likely to result in a government shutdown.  But compromise is a two-way affair.

Obama has adamantly, for nearly five years, refused to negotiate in good faith with Republicans.  For him compromise is out of the question.  Instead he has deliberately goaded Republicans for two years, aiming for a government shutdown, which he believes will enable the Democrat/Socialist Party to regain control of the House of Representatives.  Thereafter, with Nancy Pelosi again running the House of Representatives, Obama proposes to ignore any political views other than the secular religious ideology of socialism.

See Jonathan Tobin’s Intransigent Democrats and the Shutdown.

For background on the principle of comprise at the core of the Constitution, see Peter Wehner’s Compromise and the American Constitution.


Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 09/30 at 02:49 PM
  1. Both of those pieces is twisted.

    The Republicans have compromised several times this week on the continuing resolution. Heck, even agreeing to enact a continuing resolution of any kind is a compromise from the budget, and (13 by the current "rules", but it should be many times that) appropriations bills that should have been enacted.

    OTOH, pres. Obummer, Reid, Pelosi, and Schumer have all explicitly stated that they refuse to negotiate.

    If/when the government "shuts down", it's the left's fault.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  09/30  at  06:18 PM
  2. A budget was passed by the Senate in April. Since then, the Speaker of the House has steadfastly failed to agree to a normal Senate / House conference committee by which a final budget would be created under "regular order."

    Why? Because to the hard right conservatives, any form of "compromise" will get them "primaried" back in their districts. Thus, it is hard to see how failure to come to a budgetary compromise and the resulting shutdown can seen as anything but a purely Republican failure.

    The Republicans in the House have voted 45 times to rescind the Affordable Care Act, all the while knowing that with a Democratically controlled Senate and a Democratic president, that the chances of such a bill passing are zero. A well known definition of insanity is making the same mistakes over and over and expecting a different outcome. This childish behavior is huge waste of resources and prevented action on many other needed pieces of legislation.

    The idea the the President should "negotiate" over a law that was passed by both houses after years of debate, signed into law, ratified by the Supreme Court, and then reaffirmed by a five million vote plurality of the American people during the last election is nothing short of galling! Come on, Thomas. The democratic process has created this law, and blackmail by a minority of one house in an attempt to overturn it is not in the spirit of 1776.

    If the conservatives want to change the law, fine. Let them do it democratically - elect a majority and vote on a new bill!
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/01  at  08:13 AM

  3. A couple of points, Mr. Jay.

    First, regarding your statement, "The idea the the President should "negotiate" over a law that was passed by both houses after years of debate, signed into law, ratified by the Supreme Court, and then reaffirmed by a five million vote plurality of the American people during the last election is nothing short of galling!"

    The president didn't let that stand in his way to illegally and unconstitutionally disregard the very same "signed into law" act by granting an unauthorized waiver to large business and to many labor unions, as well as by acquiescing to Congress's exempting itself from the explicit provisions of the ObamaCare law. Presumably Obama believes himself clothed with the Divine Right of Kings.

    The second point regards your contention, "A well known definition of insanity is making the same mistakes over and over and expecting a different outcome. This childish behavior is huge waste of resources and prevented action on many other needed pieces of legislation." Hillary Care, during the Clinton administration was decisively rejected by the public, yet the Democrat-Socialist Party persisted in its efforts to impose socialism upon the majority of citizens who still strongly reject the concept. The "huge waste of resources" is, not patriotic resistance to collectivist tyranny, but ObamaCare itself. The OMB has repeatedly refuted Obama's contention that ObamaCare will reduce medical costs. And it already is costing vastly more in premiums for citizens than Obama promised.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/01  at  12:46 PM
  4. There is a time for compromise. This isn’t one of those times. Plus, the analogy to Constitutional compromises by our Framers is weak, as I will demonstrate.

    ‘Political-compromise’ is far more often a case of politicians screwing constituents than of finding common ground on which all prosper as the Framers managed (and intended). Those politicians who complain longest and loudest over the (presumed) lack of compromise of their opposites merely lead the pack in compromising those they (supposedly) represent. The difference, then to now, is the Framers bypassed questions for which no compromise was possible and which did not prevent them forming a stable framework suited to semi-autonomous states. With few exceptions, each delegate compromised short of compromising core principles; and those few who could not or would not abide such compromises, left early or refused to sign. The Framers, to a man, shared a common set of values (principles) with regard to government creation, differing only as to particulars of ‘interests’ and needing (they believed) safeguards. Given such safeguards (and tempers tamed), and a willingness to allow the other fellow sureties, there was less real obstacle to compromise than first appeared.

    Only one of the compromises the Framers made involved a truly moral (and potentially fatal) question, and their reasons for bypassing it rested on a shared conviction that allowing the republic to fracture was a greater evil than putting up with a nation 1/5th enslaved. Moreover, slavery appeared (to them) on the wane, so imagined the problem resolving itself. The likely result of that particular failure-to-compromise would have been a sundering of the Confederation soon after, probably into three alliances (South, Middle-States and New England). The European powers would almost certainly have exploited such a split by fanning rivalries between them (and hostile Indian tribes) over trade, territorial expansion and war-debt resolution. Civil war would have ensued between the states within a decade of rupture, and/or trade wars would have kept many states impoverished. Therefore, and as they saw it, there was no option but for them to compromise.

    Another difference between the Convention and our modern Congress was that delegates to the former voted as states rather than as individuals, with only one vote per state. This meant the more passionate and/or obdurate delegates were nullified by their own state’s delegates, especially those with large delegations (e.g., Virginia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania). A perusal of individual delegate passions leads to the conclusion, had they voted individually, the Convention probably would have failed of its object. As it was, it passed several major hurdles by narrow margins, an impasse any one of which (subverting the Articles of Confederation, slavery, legislature, Hamilton’s controversial plan, and powers granted) would have resulted in them reporting half-measures back to a Confederation Congress incapable of resolving anything.

    The situation today admits of no possibility of compromise short of abandoning the fixed principles of one side or the other; and that is a fundamental difference between their situation and ours (the Framers shared similar – if not quite identical - views on governance, and its proper limits). Too, they (to a man) earnestly and energetically sought a win-win situation; which is not the case here. To those now holding trump cards (Democrat/Socialists), compromise consists solely in their opponent’s capitulation (which is not at all what it means to ‘compromise’), as is shown by an abject refusal even to discuss Republican proposals.

    The outcome, in this case, can only be one of burdening the people further, with no real benefit except (possibly) to a tiny handful best served by repealing the very thing compromise preserves (i.e., Obama-care). This is because those few who benefit from Obama-care do so only because it alters pre-existing regulatory schemes that restrict access to care and services far more than most people appreciate. The proper solution to that is to repeal or suspend dysfunctional laws and regulations; a solution neither side seems willing to try. Each time government passes a new law or regulation, some are favored and others disfavored in roughly the same or greater proportion as before. This is tantamount to ‘rearranging deck chairs’ on a leaky tub in the expectation it plugs the leaks. Ergo compromise, for everyone not a politician, the rare individual so severely handicapped charity is a must, or uncompromisingly radical, is a ‘lose-lose’ proposition.

    Clearly, Mr.’s Wehner and Tobin are RINOs of the go-along/get-along sort; to whom fighting a rearguard action, clinging to power at any cost, and incremental-statism are acceptable outcomes. Given the current crop of legislators (most of whom haven’t our true interest), compromise is a far greater risk than impasse. Therefore, I respectfully yet strongly disagree with the Wehner-Tobin capitulation proposition.

    Links & Notes – apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks Wehner a RINO: “[Wehner] does, along with his friend Michael Gerson and too many, many others (Jennifer Rubin, call your office), represent the brand of thinking that has repeatedly spelled political disaster for Republicans and ushered them out of the political promised-land to the wilderness.

    Madison’s notes on the Convention can be accessed at: or
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/02  at  08:44 PM
  5. Mr. Brewton:

    You may feel that the executive branch does not have the constitutional authority to administer the health care law by adjusting its provisions during its start up period, but your claim does not make it so. No authority (court) agrees with your assessment, so that view carries little weight.

    And that claim that the law is already costing huge sums of money is belied by the fact that most of the law's provisions have yet to come into effect. A fair minded person waits for any system to begin working before critiquing it.

    Obama and the Democrats compromised drastically during the writing of this bill. A liberal health care law would have laid out a "single payer" system. This law was made palatable to the Republicans by using the "health care exchanges" model which was a Heritage Foundation concept to force people to buy insurance from private companies. The Republicans should be delighted that this will increase business for these companies. Instead, they are mostly annoyed that Obama might have his name attached to a successful legislative legacy.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/04  at  08:44 AM
  6. Mr. Jay, you are on a different planet from more than half the population of the United States.

    No president has the unilateral authority to change the terms of any law enacted by Congress. Ignoring several specific written provisions of the ObamaCare act does not come under the heading of administering the health care law.

    If Obama compromised drastically to make ObamaCare palatable, why do more than half the populace, from day one, have a negative opinion of the law?
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/04  at  01:18 PM
  7. Mr. Jay:

    With regard to your comment that, "And that claim that the law is already costing huge sums of money is belied by the fact that most of the law's provisions have yet to come into effect. A fair minded person waits for any system to begin working before critiquing it," you are overlooking the huge numbers of people who have had their working hours cut from full time to 39 hours a week. You are also overlooking the many people who will no longer obtain medical insurance from their employers. Ad to the list the vast sums being spent on lawyers and extra company staff seeking to comply with regulations, many of which have not yet been issued by the government.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/04  at  02:00 PM
  8. J. Jay,

    Regarding your post #2 above, your ignorance regarding policy and of sequence is only exceeded by your unwillingness to learn from past mistakes.

    To a ‘hard-left’ socialist like J. Jay, every conservative is ‘hard-right’. The budget ‘passed’ by the Senate in April was a joke because a) It wasn’t initiated by Congress, making it ‘un-Constitutional’ (i.e., fake) and b) it passed its version only after Obama had already accepted and signed a House C.R. in March. Its version was so overloaded it would never have passed muster in the house anyway without first reducing it below a level Reid and Obama had already declared unacceptable; thus making its version a kind of red-herring intended to make Republicans look bad while leveraging themselves out of the position of actual ‘budgetary obstructionists’. In the time it took the Senate to pass one such measure, the House passed five (one for each year since Obama took office), four of which Senate Democrats refused. If passed, the Senate version would take us back to the 2009 budget level, which included massive bail-outs (this after we have seen modest budget cuts the last 3 years.

    The Speaker of the House answers to neither the Senate nor President. Contrary to what you seem to think, the House is the primary decider of both spending and borrowing limits for our government. It was set up that way because they are the legislative body most directly answerable to us, the people; and the easiest for us to eject from office whenever we disapprove their actions. As a so-called ‘Democrat’, I’d think you’d know, approve and defend that sort of ‘accountability to the people’. There was nothing ‘democratic’ about the Senate’s bogus budget-offering; nor is there anything ‘democratic’ about the Senate or President. Both behave as though they have imperial carte blanche to do as they please, without regard to Constitution, other branches, states, or voters.

    Senate/House Conference Committees do not “create” final budgets. They iron out and agree on language acceptable to both delegations in the expectation this may resolve an impasse. Each delegation then reports back the agreed to language, which each body then votes up or down. In many cases, this does not result in a ‘final budget’, and the wrangling continues or some other approach (e.g., continuing resolutions) is adopted.

    Republicans have made one compromise after another (far too many for conservative comfort). Every continuing resolution was a ‘compromise’ with the President (and Senate) to keep the government running while they work through differences. Meanwhile, Harry Reid steadfastly refused even to discuss House compromise proposals.

    The MSM keeps spewing that rhubarb Republicans are an endangered species as a result of this shutdown; and you, obviously, keep on swallowing it. There is some of it, but that is mainly a result of Democrat/MSM spinning a false picture of Congressional wrangling that blames Republicans for all intransigence (which is just not possible). The number of people fooled by such rubbish is already shrinking as shown by poll trends. Overall, voters blame both parties almost equally, whereas the conservative-base feels strongly our representatives compromised too much (and vote too much like Democrats); and it is that we are unhappy about – not the shutdown per se. The Democrat base, on the other hand, is genuinely distraught by the shutdown (partly because they are more affected by it - awful lot of Democrats work in government or have jobs tied to government), but also because they swallow MSM bilge so readily. They also want to see some Party turnover. That suggests, were an election held today, more Tea-Party candidates would be ushered in while the R/D ratio would remain roughly the same, despite any turnover in Democrat ranks as well. Of course, the one constant in politics is that what happens in non-election years rarely affects election-year outcomes. That is because the voting public has such a short memory. Assuming we come through this Democrat contrived crisis intact (and we will), folks will soon recall this bit of political-theater for what it is. And should the shutdown go on a long time, the panic sowed will give way to realization this is not at all as bad as Democrat propaganda paints it. Indeed, the longer it goes on, the more obvious it becomes just who engineered it (Democrats); and the greater likelihood it will blow up in their (your) faces. This is not mere conjecture, but a long time observation the voting public is fickle, not entirely without discernment, and soon swings about. Right now, the Democrats are overdue for some comeuppance.

    You are right about making the same mistakes v insanity, but, as usual have misapplied the concept, and are mistaken this is a case of it. The only people convinced opposition to a bad law is insane are those fanatically and unthinkingly supportive of such laws. Opposition, even when you lack the votes to repeal, is not wasted effort. It has (and has had) the effect of delaying implementation on some of the more dangerous and damaging aspects of this law until such time cooler heads can prevail. In 1765, Patrick Henry rashly pushed through a Virginia resolution condemning the Stamp Act that directly censured Parliament for its usurpation. Henry won by a single vote and appeared to have cowed the opposition, but then made the incredible mistake of leaving the House of Burgesses before recess was officially declared. The next day, the Burgesses took a vote reversing his resolution, substituting a much more temperate one. Sitting in the gallery on both days was the young Thomas Jefferson, who learned from this: opposition to intemperate lawmaking isn’t wasted, and he who votes last wins.

    Obama-care was not, as you assert “passed by both houses after years of debate, signed into law, ratified by the Supreme Court, and then reaffirmed by a five million vote plurality of the American people during the last election”.

    There were no “years of debate” over Obama-Care. The ACA was debated less than three months (9/17/2009 to 12/24/2009), was passed by both [Democrat-dominated] houses in record time for such a massive piece of legislation, and with breathtaking hubris, stealth and rule-breaking. Obama had not wanted to bring up this unpopular legislation until his second term, when strong voter opinion could not harm his chances for a second term. As it was, ACA did, in fact, weaken support for Obama among independents. He’d promised his radical base he’d push for national healthcare only as a means to deflate Hillary during the 2008 primaries, and never showed much interest in the issue prior to that. Having taken up the healthcare standard, was obliged to deliver (at some point) on it. Had this been the crisis Democrats made of it during the ADA lead-up, surely the legislation would have been introduced earlier in Obama’s first year, rather than wait for the TARP dust to settle. Some Congressional Democrats (and the press), being longtime proponents of national healthcare (e.g., Pelosi) wanted a system still more socialist, and put pressure on Obama to go forward. By summer of 2010, Democrats realized they had a vanishing window of opportunity in which to get this done before rising ‘Tea-Party’ opposition (mainly to rising deficit, but to ACA also) and the 2010 mid-term elections made it a debate they could no longer control.

    The Supreme Court does not “ratify” legislation, nor is it empowered to modify a law (as this one did); it can only uphold or strike a law down as Constitutional or un-Constitutional. A later SCOTUS may reverse this one’s decision should they discover it was flawed.

    The last election result was less a plebiscite on Obama-Care then it was a Republican Party failure to endorse a candidate sufficiently different from Obama. In many independent voter minds, the economy (and not ACA) was the most pressing worry of the last Presidential campaign, and could see little to differentiate the Republican’s pick for President on that score from the incumbent. You keep forgetting Republicans are not the whole of conservatism, not even close, but that we are too often saddled with the candidates they pick rather than those we’d prefer. Given a choice between Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, many independent voters (and even some conservatives) decided to sit this one out as shown by low turnout; thereby giving Obama a ‘default-victory’. There was also indication of more than the usual amount of Democrat dirty-trick election-stealing (e.g., IRS intimidation scandal, poll irregularities, fund-raising violations, voter fraud, vote extensions [selective], gerrymandering, military vote suppression, &c). Polls taken during and just after the election did not indicate strong approval for Obama-Care as might explain the outcome.

    In summary, there is almost nothing to your post that is factual. Indeed, I am hard pressed to find a single statement or phrase in it that is true or even a passing facsimile for truth. I find inconceivable you regularly get away with uttering nonsense any reasonably intelligent teen could shred in the time it takes me to post this. Still, you do manage to compress stock liberal-socialist falsehoods rather impressively.

    If there is time later, I will dissect some of your other posts (for their entertainment value, of course).

    Links - how Senate proposed budget stacks up against prior authorized budgets - – provides some important breakdown and comparisons to ‘real’ budgets
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/05  at  10:56 AM
  9. Bob,

    I truly appreciate the effort you put in to dissect the questions at hand and to attempt to rebut my assertions. It would take me several hours to put together anything like the 13 paragraphs above (which, because of job burdens, is time I cannot, unfortunately invest.) But please be assured your writing does not go unread.

    In closing, what is your opinion on whether it will be good for the nation if we go into default?
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/10  at  08:25 AM
  10. J. Jay,

    No guts, eh? Your post #9 has got to be the lamest excuse for ducking a debate yet. Why even bother posting if you aren’t going to put up some kind of fight.

    Your excuse regarding the time it takes (inferring you are too busy) is preposterous. You have loads of time to mock, taunt, insult, defame and accuse while making absurdly counter-factual partisan claims; yet, you never take time to counter a well supported argument with one of your own. Why not just admit you are too lazy to make the effort that takes. That and you realize (perfectly by now) any argument you do make will be blasted to dust simply because they are grounded on the weakest of assumptions; and, that it is for that reason you now shrink from real debate.

    It is just such preposterous and dangerous propositions we conservatives oppose when subjected to them as dystopian objectives, policies, laws and regulations. If it were not for the suffering and loss of freedom they inflict, they might make for interesting speculation. However, and because history shows fools are ever ready to adopt lame ideas promising quick fixes for perceived injuries (some they never knew existed until so informed by radical rabble-rousers / ‘community organizers’), we must be ever on our guard against them. The prudent man, having realized or shown their defects, soon abandons such faulty precepts as indefensible, as well as dangerous to his wellbeing; and only scoundrels intent on stealing what never belonged to them defend such ideas overlong.

    There are, in fact, more things under heaven on which we can agree than disagree (e.g., poetry, music, grammar, a spectacular sunrise, manners, investment, USA is a great place &c). But, the point of blogs like this is one is a forum for the support of founding principles in opposition to fanatic notions meant to supplant established and perfectly ‘fair’ norms known to work. You buck the logic of this forum by defending nonsense at every turn, even when it is tactically bad for your side to do so; which is fine as it gives ample opportunity to show why your socialist ideas are so harmful.

    Obviously, you think your final line a clever trap with which to trick us into responding in a way you can easily attack. More obvious is I no more wish my country to default on its debts than you do. Any sensible person (to the loss of credit-worthiness, mistrust, fiscal instability, &c) realizes this is an undesirable outcome. It is not outcomes that concern us, however, but remedies. And, just what is it you suggest as the remedy? Why, more of the same that got us into this mess in the first place: profligate spending while inflating the currency to cover any difference. Or, at least that is the corrective you have so far defended without remorse or recourse. But that is exactly the policy (and behavior) of which Thomas and likeminded conservatives have been warning: that default must happen eventually given certain behaviors (deficit-spending, personal credit abuse, failure to save, non-discretionary federal ‘social-spending’, currency-devaluation &c) continue unabated. It is no longer a question of ‘choosing’ to default on our debt, but when and ‘by how much’ it becomes unavoidable; and by how much it is and was forced on us by liberal/socialists. This is a concern never voiced by you liberals (aka: progressives / socialists / statists) unless it can be made to embarrass opponents of your extravagance; and then only for the moment it takes to save face. The very next instant, you go right back to spending like insatiable Democrats, while vilifying anyone and everyone who gets in your way as ‘heartless’. Now, after mocking Thomas for so long as worrying over an ‘improbability’ (i.e., national debt implosion), you now want us to believe it is you that cautioned against this particular evil. LOL, you are just too precious for words.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/12  at  06:29 AM
  11. J. Jay,

    P.S. The reason my post #8 ran to 13 paragraphs (which you cite for your reticence) is you managed to pack as many errors into your brief post #4, plus I know your tendency to twist meanings. I gave separate treatment to each so as to neither confuse you nor provide opportunities for mischief. I could have condensed them as you do, but realized you’d have difficulty parsing the result; and then crudely mangle meanings to your advantage. Had you responded with 13 paragraphs of equally flawed rebuttal, no doubt I'd now require 50 fresh paragraphs debunking alternate-reality attacks. Except for your devotion to socialism (and some equally corrupting ideas) you aren’t stupid. It is only your defense of the indefensible that puts you in that light. Some of your bunk is actually quite 'inventive'; and, could we but wean you from ‘the dark side’, your pen could be made to serve a nobler purpose.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/12  at  07:19 AM
  12. Correction: I said "post #4" in my last whereas I should have said 'post #2'.
    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  10/12  at  07:22 AM
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